As Autumn Looms, So Does the Threat of Santa Ana Winds

Annually, the onset of the fall and winter seasons brings the highest chance for Southern California’s famed Santa Ana winds.

Typically Santa Ana air mass conditions are brought on by high pressure inland and lower pressure off the Pacific Coast which brings very hot and dry weather along with strong, down-slope winds.  In the past, the critical fire weather conditions that accompany Santa Ana winds turn the typically dry chaparral of Southern California into explosive fuel.  Some of the country’s costliest fires in history have taken place in these conditions.

Santa Ana Winds derive from High Pressure in the Great Basin

Interestingly, this year meteorologists are expecting an El Niño cycle to begin affecting the area with rains by November.  In the meantime, as the tropical air mass that has brought this summer’s rain gives way to autumn’s Pacific air mass, a few Santa Ana events should precede the El Nino’s wetting effect.

 

RedZone’s Experienced Wildfire Liaisons Connect IMTs to Private Response Teams

 

When RedZone clients dispatch their private resources to respond to a wildfire, RedZone provides an on-scene Liaison to facilitate access and coordinate efforts with the local Incident Command personnel as required by federal, state, and local guidelines.

RedZone’s Liaison staff has over 70 combined years of experience responding to major wildfires as well as other types of natural disasters, and enjoy an impeccable reputation among Incident Command personnel throughout the country.  Because of this reputation, Liaisons are able to gain access to the Incident Command Post of a given fire and obtain permission for the private resources to maneuver within the emergency deployment area and perform mitigation tactics on specific homes.

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Throughout the duration of the incident, Liaisons will communicate the teams’ locations and coordinate movements within the area, attend operational briefings and planning meetings as necessary, and provide the Incident Management Team (IMT) with a direct communications link to the private resources in the field.  Liaisons will also deliver regular status updates to RedZone’s intelligence staff to be disseminated to clients via the RZAlert product.

In the offseason, RedZone Liaisons make presentations for regional Incident Management Team meetings and perform outreach to fire professionals on behalf of RedZone’s insurance carrier clientele.  They also conduct continuing education classes for insurance professionals.

The strong relationships Liaisons foster with Incident Command Teams and the increased safety Liaisons promote among private crews on the fireline make them an integral and indispensable component of RedZone’s wildfire services.

 

Clear Lake area hit with another major wildfire

The Elk fire is yet another new start in Lake County in 2015. To date, the three major fires shown on the map below alone have burned over 95,000 acres. As of Friday morning the Elk Fire is still only 35% contained.

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Lake County is at it again, with its third major wildfire of the summer. Following in the footsteps of the Rocky and Jerusalem fires from earlier last month the Elk Fire started yesterday and is only 25% contained as of last night. The Clear Lake area has now seen over 95,000 acres burn along with three different evacuation orders – though the Elk fire’s have already been lifted. Wildland fire potential in many areas of the state, including Lake County, is predicted to remain well above normal as Fall approaches.

  

IGNITION FIRE ACRES CONTAINMENT
JUL 29 ROCKY 69,438 AUG 15
AUG 9 JERUSALEM 25,118 AUG 23
SEP 2 ELK 670 35%

  

 

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Firefighter Fatalities on the Twisp River Fire

RedZone extends condolences to the families and friends of the three firefighters that lost their lives battling the Twisp River Fire in Washington yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all firefighters and those displaced by wildfires nationwide.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation accepts donations to provide assistance to the families of firefighters killed or injured in the line of duty.

 

One Wildfire to Bed as Another Awakens

RedZone has been keeping a close eye on Northern California wildfire activity over the past few weeks.  A recent flurry of dry lightning thunderstorms in conjunction with drought and fire prone conditions, have led to numerous large fires across the region.  The Rocky Fire, being the largest of the fires at 69,636 acres, is nearing full containment at 88% as of 0700 hours PDT this morning.  All evacuations in relation to the fire have been lifted, and CAL FIRE’s Incident Information webpage is projecting full containment around August 13th.  In short, it looks like the Rocky Fire is well on its way to bed.

Unfortunately, just as one monster is off to sleep, it seems another has awoken.  The Jerusalem Fire, which started August 9th just south of the Rocky Fire area, quickly grew to approximately 12,000 acres in size with no reported containment as of this morning.  In fact the Rocky and Jerusalem Fire are so close in proximity, only a single valley separates the two fire perimeters from one another.  Mandatory evacuations remain in effect as a result of the Jerusalem Fire, with structures in the area reportedly remaining threatened.  Hopefully the close proximity of resources being diverted from Rocky to Jerusalem will aid in containment efforts.

Although lightning has been the main culprit for numerous fires in the region, the cause of both the Rocky and Jerusalem Fires remain under investigation.

 

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USA Wildfire update – 206 and counting

Alaska remains the unfortunate leader in wildfire, with more than 1.2 million acres involved in 17 major fires. RedZone is currently tracking 30 wildfires in Alaska.

As a comparison, the twenty largest fires in the Continental US combine to measure 382,000 acres – barely a quarter of the size of the Alaskan fires.

Within the CONUS, California has two of the five biggest fires: the Happy Camp Complex fire in Klamath National Forest at 134,000 acres, and the Lake Fire in San Bernardino National Forest at 31,000 acres. RedZone is currently tracking 18 wildfires in California, with varying levels of intensity and threat.

There are other significant fires in Oregon, Washington, and even New Mexico and Nevada. If you want reliable, timely intelligence on wildfire, turn to RedZone. For more information, visit our website at www.redzone.co.

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This screen shot from RedZone’s RZAlert dashboard shows the CONUS and wildfires currently tracked by RedZone.